For me, some of Jules Campbell’s most compelling work is found within her series titled, Intersections. In this series, Campbell depicts what seem to be daily street scenes, capturing intersections with people in motion - navigating through the bustling city streets and sidewalks of downtown San Francisco – many scenes depicted from a bird’s eye perspective. These scenes are observed, captured and depicted above the street in a building - from a vantage point of a seventh floor window. This private and hidden perch allows the artist to study, contemplate and photograph the subjects below unnoticed, without disrupting activities or behavior in any way. Looking down at the street and the people from this perspective creates a unique pictorial distortion of sharp angles, flattened space and foreshortened figures. The cast shadows are prominent and subdivide the compositional space in an abstract way that simultaneously enhances the mystery of the scene and primes the voyeuristic imagination of the viewer. Formally, these paintings are compelling on many levels – the mixed media is deftly manipulated to successfully support the compositional arrangements combining representation and abstraction. The visual results are immediately engaging pulling the viewer in closer for a more intimate inspection. Campbell’s street scenes and compositions prompt one to take particular notice of the people, the details of their appearance and body language. We find ourselves looking for visual clues, assessing the scene and the people - speculating and building conjecture as to their intentions and destinations. Campbell effectively pulls viewers into these works and coerces the participant into observing her paintings with detailed engagement. Her work encourages our imagination to parallel hers as she contemplated variable paths and developed these paintings – in a way, she has allowed us to become active participants in creating imaginary narratives or story sequences to scenes where everything is possible and nothing is certain.
Faculty, Painting/Drawing, Art Department
Dean, Division of Applied and Fine Arts
Diablo Valley College